The Books of the New Testament
by Leighton Pullan
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Connected with the representation of Jesus as the Messiah is the record of His continual teaching about the "kingdom of heaven." The "kingdom of heaven" or "kingdom of God" signifies the reign and influence of God. The meaning of it is best expressed by the words in the Lord's Prayer: "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth" (Matt. vi. 10). The second petition explains the first. The kingdom comes in proportion as the righteous will of our loving Father is done among men. The kingdom therefore includes the influence of God in the heart of the believer, or in great movements in the world, or in the organization and growth of His Church (xvi. 18; xviii. 17). The kingdom has both a present and a future aspect. In xii. 28 our Lord says to His hearers that it "is come upon you," and in xxi. 31 He speaks of people who were entering into it at the time. But the night before He died He spoke of it as still future (xxvi. 29). It is plain that He taught that it was already present, though its consummation is yet to come. The kingdom is spiritual, "not of this world," it is universal, for though the Jews were "the sons of the kingdom" (viii. 12) by privilege, it is free to others. The worst sinner might come in (xxi. 31), if he came with repentance, humility, and purity of heart. The teaching of Christ with regard to the kingdom was based upon an idea of God's personal rule, which runs through nearly all the Old Testament, beginning with the Books of Samuel and revealing itself in Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel. But our Lord's teaching is original and distinctive. And it is more distant from the popular Jewish idea of a Hebrew counterpart to the Roman empire than the east is distant from the west.

Nowhere else is our Lord shown to have given such an unmistakable sanction to the Law. It is here only that we {45} read, "Think not that I came to destroy the Law, or the prophets: I came not to destroy, but to fulfil" (v. 17).[10] Here, too, we find an allusion to the observance of the sabbath after the Ascension (xxiv. 20), a temporary prohibition of preaching to the Gentiles and Samaritans (x. 5), and the statement of our Lord, "I was not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (xv. 24). Most remarkable of all is the direction to obey the scribes and Pharisees (xxiii. 3). On the other hand, there is a rigorous denunciation of the rabbinical additions to the Jewish Law. Mercy is preferable to sacrifice (xii. 7), the Son of man is Lord of the sabbath (xii. 8), moral defilement does not come from a failure to observe ceremonial (xv. 11), the kingdom will be transferred to a more faithful nation (xxi. 43), even the strangers from the east and the west (viii. 11), the Gospel will be for all people (xxiv. 14), and the scribes and Pharisees are specially denounced (xxiii. 13).

It has been said that there is an absolute opposition between these two classes of sayings; that either Jesus contradicted Himself, or the evangelist drew from one source which was of a Judaizing character, and from another source which taught St. Paul's principle of justification by faith versus justification by the Law. But the same divine paradox of truth which we find in Matt. runs through most of the New Testament, and is found plainly in St. Paul. In the Epistle where he exposes the failure of contemporary Judaism most remorselessly, he asserts that "we establish the Law." The true inner meaning of the divine revelation granted in the Old Testament is fulfilled in Christ. Not only so, but Christ Himself was "the servant of the circumcision," living "under the Law." The limits which He imposed upon His own ministry (xv. 24) and that of His apostles (x. 5) were entirely fitting until Christ at His resurrection laid aside all that was peculiarly Jewish with its limits and humiliations.



The infancy of our Lord: i. 1-ii. 23.—Genealogy from Abraham, announcement to Joseph, birth, visit of Magi, flight into Egypt, massacre of innocents, settlement at Nazareth.


Winter A.D. 26 till after Pentecost 27.

The preparation for the ministry: iii. 1-iv. 11.—

The ministry of John the Baptist and the baptism of Jesus, the threefold temptation.


Pentecost A.D. 27 till before Passover 28.

The preaching of the kingdom of God by Jesus in Galilee: iv. 12-xiii. 58.—The call of the four fishermen, Jesus preaches and heals (iv.). The Sermon on the Mount—Jesus fulfils the law, the deeper teaching concerning the commandments (v.). False and true almsgiving, prayer and fasting, worldliness, trust in God (vi.). Censoriousness, discrimination in teaching, encouragements to prayer, false prophets, the two houses (vii.). The ministry at Capernaum and by the lake is illustrated by the record of many works of Messianic healing power (viii.-ix.), the apostles are chosen and receive a charge (x.), and the ministry is illustrated by words and parables of Messianic wisdom (xi.-xiii.). We find a growing hostility on the part of the scribes and Pharisees (ix. 11; ix. 34; xii. 2, xii. 14; xii. 24). Jesus returns to Nazareth (xiii. 53-58).

[Perplexity of Herod and death of John the Baptist, xiv. 1-12.]



Passover A.D. 28 till before Tabernacles 28.

Climax of missionary work in Galilee: xiv. 13-xviii. 35.—Christ feeds the 5000, walks on the sea, heals the sick in Gennesaret (xiv.). Christ now labours chiefly in the dominions of Herod Philip, the journeys are more plainly marked in Mark. Teaching about defilement, the Canaanite woman, Christ feeds the 4000 (xv.).

Leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees, Peter's confession of Christ, Christ's first prediction of His death (xvi.). Transfiguration, lunatic boy cured, second prediction of death, the shekel in the fish's mouth (xvii.). Treatment of children, Christ saving lost sheep, forgiveness (xviii.).


Tabernacles, September A.D. 28 until early 29.

The ministry in Peraea; xix. i-xx. 34.—Christ forbids divorce, He blesses children, the rich young man, the difficulties of the rich (xix.). Parable of the labourers, Christ's third prediction of His death, the request of the mother of Zebedee's children, the two blind men of Jericho (xx.).


Passover A.D. 29.

Last days at Jerusalem, and afterwards: xxi. 1-xxviii. 20.—Entry into Jerusalem, the cleansing of the temple, the withered fig tree, Christ challenged, parable of the vineyard (xxi.). The marriage feast, three questions to entrap Christ, His question (xxii.). On not seeking chief places, denunciation of scribes and Pharisees, lament over Jerusalem (xxiii.).

Predictions of destruction of temple, siege of Jerusalem, the second coming (xxiv.), three discourses on the judgment (xxv.).


The Council discuss how they may arrest Jesus, the woman with the ointment, Judas' bargain, the Passover, Gethsemane, the betrayal, the trial before Caiaphas, Peter's denial (xxvi.). Jesus delivered to Pilate, Judas' suicide, Jesus tried by Pilate, Jesus and Barabbas, the mockery, crucifixion, burial by Joseph of Arimathaea, guard granted by Pilate (xxvii.).

The women at the sepulchre, the angel, Jesus meets them, the guard bribed, Jesus meets the eleven in Galilee, His commission to baptize and teach (xxviii.).

Note on the Date of Matthew.—Irenaeus, apparently following Papias, says, "Matthew published a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, Peter and Paul preaching the Gospel at Rome" (Adv. Haer. iii. 1). This would fix the date of the Hebrew Matt. about A.D. 63, if it was the intention of Irenaeus to give chronological information in this sentence. But the context makes it more probable that this is not the case, and that he simply wished to make it clear that the teaching of the four chief apostles, Peter and Paul, Matthew and John, has come down to us in writing. That of Matthew and John survives in their Gospels, that of Peter and Paul, though they wrote no Gospels, survives in Mark and Luke. Eusebius, in his Chronicle dates the composition in A.D. 41. This he probably does in order to make it fit with the supposed departure of the apostles from Jerusalem after twelve years from the Crucifixion. His statement is very improbable. At any rate our Greek Matt. must have been written after Mark. The frequent quotations from it in primitive literature from the Epistle of Barnabas and the Didache onwards, bear witness both to its early date and its high authority. Internal evidence points to the same conclusion. In addition to what is said above (p. 38), we may note some passages likely to perplex the reader. Such are ii. 23, "the ass and the colt" in xxi. 7, the "three days and three nights in the belly of the whale" mentioned as typical of Christ's rest in the tomb (xii. 40), the absence of all reference to the burning of the temple in xxiv. 2, the reference to Zachariah the son of Barachiah (xxiii. 35; contrast 2 Chron. xxiv. 20). Such verses would probably have been altered if the Gospel had not gained an authoritative position at a very early date.

[1] Strom. iv. 9.

[2] Eusebius, H. E. iii. 39.

[3] Adv. Haer. iii. 1.

[4] De Vir, Ill. 3.

[5] In Matt. xii. 13.

[6] Con. Pelag. iii. 1.

[7] So Prof. Armitage Robinson, Expositor, March, 1897.

[8] Batiffol, Six Lecons sur les Evangiles, p. 48.

[9] Burton, Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of New Testament Greek, pp. 92-95.

[10] In this Gospel only is sin called "lawlessness."

[11] These analyses of the Gospels are not complete, but are arranged with the hope that the readers, by studying all the four, may gain a clearer conception of the life of our Lord.




[Sidenote: The Author.]

John Mark was the son of a Mary who was an influential member of the Church at Jerusalem, as the Church met in her house (Acts xii. 12). He was a cousin of Barnabas (Col. iv. 10), who had been a man of some property. It has been thought that Mark was the "young man" referred to in the account given by this Gospel of the arrest of Jesus in the garden. To others the incident would probably have appeared insignificant. He lived at Jerusalem during the famine in A.D. 45, and Barnabas took him to Antioch on returning thither from Jerusalem at that time. He accompanied St. Paul and St. Barnabas on St. Paul's first missionary journey, and laboured with them at Salamis in Cyprus. It is possible that Acts xiii. 5 means that John Mark had been a "minister" of the synagogue at Salamis. At any rate, the Greek can be so interpreted. After crossing from Paphos to the mainland of Asia Minor, the missionaries arrived at Perga. Here St. Paul made the great resolve to extend the gospel beyond the Taurus mountains. St. Mark determined to leave him. Perhaps he was not prepared for so magnificent an undertaking as a "work" which included the conversion of the Gentiles (Acts xiv. 27), or for the substitution of the leadership of St. Paul for that of St. Barnabas.

St. Mark returned to Jerusalem, and was again at Antioch about the time of St. Paul's rebuke of St. Peter. Possibly St. Mark followed the example of most of the Jewish Christians at Antioch in inducing St. Peter and St. Barnabas to withdraw from {50} fellowship with the Gentile converts. Whether he did so or not, it is certain that St. Paul refused to take St. Mark with him on his second missionary journey, A.D. 49. St. Barnabas then went home to Cyprus with St. Mark. We hear no more of the future evangelist until A.D. 60, when we find that he is with St. Paul in Rome, and completely reconciled to him. He is the apostle's "fellow-worker" and his "comfort" (Col. iv. 11; Philem. 24). About four years later, St. Paul, in writing shortly before his martyrdom to Timothy, requests him to come to Rome by the shortest route, and to take up Mark on the way, "for he is useful to me for ministering" (2 Tim. iv. 11). The last notice that we have of St. Mark in the New Testament illustrates how complete a harmony had been effected between the expansive theology of St. Paul and the once cramped policy of St. Peter and St. Mark. In his First Epistle St. Peter refers to "Mark, my son," and his words make it certain that the two friends were then together at Babylon, i.e. Rome.

In the 4th century it was widely believed that St. Mark was the founder of Christianity in Alexandria, and the first bishop of the see which was afterwards ruled by St. Athanasius and St. Cyril. It is important to notice that this tradition appears first in Eusebius, and is not mentioned in the extant works of Clement and Origen, the great luminaries of the early Alexandrian Church. But it seems to be too well supported by the great writers of the 4th century for us to regard it as a fabrication. If the tale is true, St. Mark must have brought Christianity to Alexandria either after the death of St. Peter about A.D. 65, or about A.D. 55, in the interval between his separation from St. Paul and his stay with him at Rome.

The early Fathers, so far as their testimony remains, are unanimous in ascribing this Gospel to St. Mark, and they are equally unanimous in tracing the work of St. Mark to the influence of St. Peter. Justin Martyr speaks of the "Memoirs of Peter" when referring to a statement which we find in {51} Mark iii. 17. Papias closely associates the two saints in his account of the Gospel, and gives us his information on the authority of John the Presbyter, who was a disciple of the Lord. Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, and Origen say practically the same thing. This evidence is overwhelming, and it is uncontradicted by any early authority. The statement of Papias is as follows: "And the elder said this also: Mark, having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately everything that he remembered of the things that were either said or done by Christ; but, however, not in order. For neither did he hear the Lord, nor did he follow Him; but afterwards, as I said, he attended Peter, who adapted his instructions to the needs of his hearers, but had no design of giving a connected account of the Lord's words. So then Mark committed no error in thus writing down certain things as he remembered them; for he made it his special care not to omit anything that he heard, or to set down any false statement therein." [1] By calling St. Mark an interpreter, Papias perhaps means that he translated statements made in Aramaic into Greek, which was the language most used by the Christians of Rome until the 3rd century after Christ. By saying that St. Mark wrote not in order, Papias probably means that the Gospel is not a systematic history of all our Lord's ministry, or an orderly arrangement of subjects placed together with a view to instruction like those in Matthew. So far as we are able to test them, the facts are related chronologically in the great majority of cases.

Papias does not tell us when St. Mark wrote his Gospel. Irenaeus writes: "Matthew also published a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, Peter and Paul preaching the Gospel at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, delivered to us in writing the things that had been preached by Peter." [2] {52} St. Peter and St. Paul probably died not later than A.D. 65. Eusebius quotes from Clement of Alexandria "that Peter having publicly preached the word at Rome, and having spoken the Gospel by the Spirit, many present exhorted Mark to write the things which had been spoken, since he had long accompanied Peter, and remembered what he had said; and that when he had composed the Gospel, he delivered it to them who had asked it of him, which when Peter knew, he neither forbad nor encouraged it." [3] Clement is here relying upon "the presbyters of old," and the antiquity of the tradition is proved by the fact that it does not claim St. Peter's direct sanction for the Gospel. Both Irenaeus and Clement were probably born about A.D. 130, or earlier. Irenaeus was acquainted with Rome, where St. Peter taught, while Clement lived at Alexandria, where St. Mark was probably bishop. Moreover, Clement's office of head-catechist at Alexandria had been previously held by at least three predecessors, who must have handed down traditions of first-rate value. The testimony of Clement with regard to St. Mark is not inconsistent with that of Irenaeus. The Gospel was probably written while St. Peter was alive, and when he was dead, was given to the Church. Possibly it underwent some revision before publication. Now, as St. Peter evidently had not taught in Rome when St. Paul wrote the Epistle to the Romans in A.D. 56, and as St. Mark was in Rome when he wrote the Epistle to the Colossians in A.D. 60, we may reasonably date this Gospel about A.D. 62. It seems to be later than Colossians, as there is no indication of St. Peter's being in Rome when that Epistle was written.

[Sidenote: Literary Style.]

The internal evidence afforded by the Gospel strongly corroborates the belief that it was based upon the discourses of one who had been with our Lord during His ministry. It is marked by a vivid and dramatic realism. There is a fondness for rapid transitions from one scene to another, as may be illustrated by the {53} fact that the Greek word for "immediately" occurs no less than forty-one times. In i. 27 the actual form of an original dialogue is shown in the abrupt and broken sentences employed. St. Mark uses different tenses of the Greek verb—present, perfect, imperfect, and aorist—with singular freedom, not because he did not know Greek well enough to write with more regularity, but because he is carried away by his interest in the facts which he relates. The student will find good instances of this interchange of tenses in v. 15 ff.; vi. 14 ff.; viii. 35; ix. 34 ff. St. Mark's language shows that he was well acquainted with the Greek version of the Old Testament, which has exercised considerable influence on his style.

There are many picturesque phrases, such as "the heavens rent" (i. 10) and "devour houses" (xii. 40). There are little redundancies in which the author repeats his thoughts with a fresh shade of meaning, as "at even, when the sun did set" (i. 32); "he looked steadfastly, and was restored, and saw all things clearly" (viii. 25); "all that she had, even all her living" (xii. 44). There is a frequent use of popular diminutives, such as words for "little boat," "little daughter," "little dog." This is probably due to provincial Custom, and may be compared with the fondness shown in some parts of Scotland for words such as "boatie," "lassie" or "lassock," etc. There are several Hebraisms. Some of the Greek words are frankly plebeian, such as a foreigner would pick up without realizing that they were inelegant. There are also some Aramaic words and phrases which the writer inserts with a true artistic sense and then interprets—Boanerges (iii. 17), Talitha cumi (v. 41), Corban (vii. 11), Ephphatha (vii. 34), Abba (xiv. 36), and Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani[4] (xv. 34). The Greek also contains numerous grammatical irregularities which betray the hand of a foreigner, {54} as in ii. 26; iv. 22; vi. 52; vii. 4, 19; ix. 18, xi.32; xiii. 34. The use of participles is clumsy, especially in the account of the woman with the issue of blood (v. 25 ff.). Finally, there are more Latin words and idioms than in any of the other Gospels. Latin idioms may be seen in v. 23 and xv. 15, and instances of Latin words are speculator (vi. 27), centurion (xv. 39), sextarius (vii. 4), denarius (vi. 37), quadrans (xii. 42). In xii. 42, xv. 16, Greek words are explained in Latin.

These facts corroborate the tradition that the writer was a Palestinian who stayed in Rome, and knew personally some one who had exceptional knowledge of our Lord's actual words.

The narrative is particularly fresh, and abounds in vivid details such as would have been likely to linger in St. Peter's memory. The green grass whereon the crowds sat, and the appearance of flower-beds which they presented in their gay costume (vi. 39, 40); the stern of the boat, and the pillow whereon our Lord slept (iv. 38); the Gerasene demoniac cutting himself with stones (v. 5); the woman who was a Syro-Phoenician but spoke Greek (vii. 26); Jesus taking children in His arms (ix. 36; x. 16); the street where the colt was tied (xi. 4); the two occasions on which the cock crew (xiv. 68, 72); and St. Peter warming himself in the light of the fire (xiv. 54);—such are some of the instances of the writer's fidelity in recording the impressions of his teacher. This Gospel also abounds in proper names, both of places and persons. Among the latter may be mentioned the name of Bartimaeus, the blind beggar (x. 46); the names of Alexander and Rufus, the sons of Simon of Cyrene (xv. 21); Salome, the mother of Zebedee's children (xv. 40); and Boanerges, their surname (iii. 17). Equally remarkable is the manner in which the emotions of our Lord and others are recorded. We notice the indignation and grief which He felt in the synagogue (iii. 5); His compassion for the unshepherded people (vi. 34); His deep sigh at the sceptical demand for a sign from heaven (viii. 12), {55} His displeasure at the disciples for keeping the children from Him (x. 14); His undisguised love for the rich young man who yet lacked one thing (x. 21); His tragic walk in front of the apostles (x. 32); the intensity of feeling with which He was driven into the wilderness (i. 12), and overturned the tables and seats in the temple (xi. 15). St. Mark always seems to be painting our Lord from the life.

In spite of the fact that St. Mark shows that he knew well how to compress the material which was at his disposal, there is hardly a story which he narrates in common with the other synoptists without some special feature. We may notice the imploring words of the father of the lunatic boy (ix. 2), the spoken blessing on little children (x. 16), the view of the temple (xiii. 3), and Pilate's question of the centurion (xv. 44). None of these things are narrated in the other Gospels. In ix. 2-13 we have the story of the Transfiguration, with the statement that the garments of our Lord "became glistering, exceeding white; so as no fuller on earth can whiten them." We are also told that St. Peter then addressed our Lord as "Rabbi," and that "he wist not what to answer." The same significant phrase, "they wist not what to answer Him," occurs in St. Mark's account of the agony in the garden (xiv. 40). These are only a few instances out of many which show St. Mark's originality, and they are just such personal reminiscences as we might expect St. Peter to retain.

[Sidenote: Character and Contents.]

Just as the style is realistic and the narrative circumstantial, so the contents are practical. "He went about doing good" is the impression which this Gospel gives us of our Lord. The teaching which He announced to the people is made less prominent than in Matt. If we count even the shortest similitudes as parables, we find only nine parables in Mark. Equally remarkable is the absence of quotations made by the writer. He records numerous references made by our Lord to the Old Testament, though fewer than Matt. or Luke, but the only quotations made by St. Mark {56} himself are in i. 2, 3 (Mal. iii. 1; Isa. xl. 3) and xv. 28 (Isa. liii. 12). On the other hand, we find eighteen miracles, only two less than in the much longer Gospel of St. Matthew. The theological tone of Mark may be described as neutral. There is no trace of the innocent preferences which Matt. and Luke show toward this or that aspect of the teaching of Jesus. In Mark we do not find so strong an approval of the more permanent parts of the Jewish Law, or so strong a denunciation of the Pharisees who exalted the external adjuncts of the Law, as we find in Matt. Nor do we find such parables as the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son, by which Luke lays emphasis upon the truth that the Jews have no monopoly of holiness, and that the outcast is welcome to the gospel. Mark is less Jewish than Matt., less Gentile and Pauline than Luke. It used to be said that this was the result of "trimming," and intended to bridge over the differences between two different schools of theology. But the charge has broken down. St. Mark, though not anti-Jewish, regards Christ as above the law of the sabbath (ii. 28), and teaches the necessity of new external religious forms (ii. 22). Though he is not Jewish, and though he omits the statement made in Matt. xv. 24, a statement indicating that the Jews had the first right to be taught by the Messiah, he does record, like Matt., the still harder statement of the same fact made to the Syro-Phoenician woman (vii. 27). The truth is that St. Mark is neutral simply in the sense that he faithfully records a story which was moulded before doctrinal conflicts had taken place between Christian believers. The doctrine of St. Mark is archaic.

One of the most distinctive features of this Gospel is the decisive clearness with which it shows how Jesus trained and educated His disciples. The simplicity with which St. Mark describes the faults of the friends of our Lord is as remarkable as the vigour with which the gestures and feelings of our Lord are portrayed. St. Mark relates how that early in the ministry of Jesus, His friends (iii. 21) said that He was mad, and that "His {57} mother and His brethren" (iii. 31) sought to bring Him back. The discipline and education of the disciples are recorded with a plain revelation of their mistakes and their spiritual dulness. When they had settled in Capernaum Christ shows them that He must find a wider sphere of work (i. 38); He meets with a significant silence their obtrusive remonstrance when the woman with the issue of blood caused Him to ask, "Who touched My clothes?" (v. 30, 31); He tells them with affectionate care "to rest a while," when they had been too busy even to eat (vi. 31); He rebukes them gravely when they put a childish interpretation upon His command to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod, the formalists and the Erastian (viii. 17); they are unintelligent and uninquiring when He prophesies His death and resurrection (ix. 32), and after this prophecy they actually dispute about their own precedence (ix. 34); when Christ goes boldly forward to Jerusalem, they follow with fear and hesitation (x. 32); He rebukes the niggardly criticism of those who were indignant with the "waste" of the perfume poured upon His head (xiv. 6); and in Gethsemane "they all left Him and fled" (xiv. 50).

Among these disciples, St. Peter is prominent, and though his confession of the Messiahship of Jesus is recorded, a confession which is necessarily central in the Gospel (viii. 29), St. Mark neither records that our Lord designed him as the rock, nor his commission to feed the Lord's lambs and sheep. On the other hand, St. Mark inserts things which were often of a nature to humble St. Peter. He records the crushing reprimand which he received when he criticized the Lord's mission (viii. 33); it was Peter's fanciful plan to erect three tabernacles on the scene of the Transfiguration (ix. 5), it was Peter who informed the Lord that the fig tree had withered after His curse (xi. 21), it was Peter whom Christ awoke in Gethsemane by uttering his name "Simon" (xiv. 37); and Peter's denial appears doubly guilty in this Gospel, inasmuch as he did not repent until the cock crew twice (xiv. 68, 72). At the {58} beginning (iii. 16) and at the end (xvi. 7) Peter occupies a special position. But the conduct of Peter is narrated in a fashion which renders the notion of fiction quite impossible. The Gospel cannot have been written by a hero-worshipper wishing to glorify a saint of old, but must surely have been written by "the interpreter of Peter."

In comparing the contents of Mark with those of Matt. and Luke, we are struck by the absence of many of our Lord's discourses. Yet we find an eschatological discourse about the second coming in xiii., though much shorter than those in Matt. xxiv. and xxv. The genuineness of Mark xiii. has been assailed, and it has been described as an apocalyptic "fly-sheet," which was somehow inserted in the Gospel. There is no reason for believing this theory to be true. The chapter was in Mark when it was incorporated into Matthew, and its teaching agrees with that attributed to our Lord in the collections of Logia. We have also the beginning of the charge given to the apostles (vi. 7-11; cf. Matt. x.). There are a few echoes of the Sermon on the Mount, and only a specimen of the final denunciation of the Pharisees, which occupies a whole chapter in Matt. (Mark xii. 38-40, cf. Matt. xxiii.). We find a few statements made by our Lord which are peculiar to this Gospel: e.g.—"the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath" (ii. 27), "foolishness" coming from the heart (vii. 22); "every sacrifice shall be salted with salt" (ix. 49); "Father, all things are possible unto Thee," in the touching filial appeal during the agony (xiv. 36). Here alone have we the tiny parable about the growth of the blade of corn (iv. 26), and that of the porter commanded to watch until the master's return (xiii. 34). There are two miracles peculiar to Mark, the cure of the deaf-mute (vii. 32) and of the blind man at Bethsaida (viii. 22). Among the miracles recorded in Mark, the cures of demoniacs are prominent. This is in peculiar contrast with John, where we find no cure of demoniacs recorded.

In marked contrast to St. Luke, St. Mark appears indifferent {59} to the political conditions of the countries where our Lord worked. Thus Herod Antipas is simply called "the king" (vi. 14), whereas both in Matt. and Luke he is correctly called by the title of "tetrarch," which only implies governorship of a portion of a country. Yet the narrative of St. Mark shows that he was quite aware of facts which can only be explained by the political conditions which he does not describe. He knows that Tyre and Sidon, Caesarea Philippi and Bethsaida, which were not under Herod Antipas, were more safe for our Lord than Capernaum. And he knows that in travelling to Jerusalem He was in greater danger than while He remained in Galilee, and was meeting His doom at the sentence of Gentile officials. Although St. Mark is silent as to the names of many of the places which our Lord visited, he gives us numerous indications of the various scenes of our Lord's labours. We are thus able to fix the geographical surroundings of nearly all the more important events, and construct an intelligible plan of our Lord's ministry. We can see how He made the shores of the lake of Gennesaret the focus of His mission, and went on evangelistic journeys from Capernaum into Galilee. The time of these journeys was largely determined by circumstances, such as the unregulated enthusiasm of the mob, the spite of the scribes at Capernaum, or the anger of Herod's court at Tiberias. Towards the end of the ministry in Galilee our Lord devoted Himself to the deeper instruction of His Apostles and their initiation into the mystery of His death (vii. 24 ff.; viii. 27 ff.). For such teaching the mountain slopes of Lebanon and Hermon afforded scenes of perfect calm and beauty.




Winter A.D. 26 till after Pentecost 27.

The preparation for the ministry; i. 1-13.—The mission of John the Baptist and the baptism of Jesus, the temptation.


Pentecost A.D. 27 till before Passover 28.

The ministry of Jesus in Galilee, journeys from Capernaum; i. 14-vi. 13.—The call of the four fishermen, Jesus preaches and heals at Capernaum (i. 14-34).

First missionary journey, in towns of Galilee: leper cleansed, return to Capernaum (i. 38-ii. 1). Work in Capernaum, five grounds of offence against Jesus, Jesus followed by crowds of hearers on the sea-shore (ii. 2-iii. 12). Appointment of the twelve, Christ accused of alliance with Satan, the unpardonable sin, Christ's relation to His mother and brethren. He begins to teach in parables about the kingdom (iii. 13-iv. 34).

Second missionary journey, on the eastern shore of the lake of Gennesaret: the storm calmed, Gerasene demoniac and swine (iv. 35-v. 20). Return to the western shore, the cure of the woman who touched His garment, Jairus' daughter raised (v. 21-43).

Third missionary journey, in the western highlands, including Nazareth, where He is rejected, and adjacent villages, the mission of the twelve (vi. 1-13).

[Perplexity of Herod and death of John the Baptist, vi. 14-29.]



Passover A.D. 28 till before Tabernacles 28.

Climax of missionary work in Galilee, journeys from Capernaum; vi. 30-ix. 50.—Christ in a desert place feeds the 5000, visits Bethsaida, walks on the sea, returns to Gennesaret, heals many (vi. 30-56). Teaching about defilement (vii. 1-23).

Fourth missionary journey, to the north-west into Phoenicia: the Syro-Phoenician woman, departure from Tyre and Sidon, approach to the sea of Galilee through Decapolis, cure of the deaf-mute (vii. 24-37). Christ feeds the 4000 (viii. 1-9) Christ takes ship to Dalmanutha, Pharisees seek a sign, Jesus takes ship to the other side, the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod, cure of a blind man at Bethsaida (viii. 10-26).

Fifth journey, to towns of Caesarea Philippi, special teaching of the select few: Peter's confession of Christ, Christ's first prediction of His death (viii. 27-ix. 1). Transfiguration, lunatic boy cured, journey through Galilee, second prediction of death, arrival at Capernaum, the value of a child's example, the danger of causing one to stumble (ix. 2-50).


Tabernacles, September A.D. 28 until early 29.

Journey to Jerusalem through Peraea: x.—Christ forbids divorce, blesses children, the rich young man, the difficulties of the rich, Christ's third prediction of His death, the request of Zebedee's sons, Christ's announcement of His mission to serve, blind Bartimaeus cured at Jericho.



Passover A.D. 29.

Last days at Jerusalem, and afterwards; xi. 1-xvi. 20.—Entry into Jerusalem, the withered fig-tree, cleansing of the temple, the duty of forgiveness, Christ challenged (xi.). The parable of the vineyard, three questions to entrap Christ, His question, denunciation of scribes, the widow's mites (xii.).

Predictions of destruction of temple, of woes and of the second coming (xiii.).

The Council discuss how they may arrest Jesus, the woman with the ointment, Judas' bargain, the Passover, Gethsemane, the betrayal, the trial before the Council, Peter's denial (xiv.). Jesus delivered to Pilate, trial, Jesus and Barabbas, the mockery, crucifixion, burial by Joseph of Arimathaea (xv.).

The women at the sepulchre, the angel (xvi. 1-8).

Appendix with summary of appearances of the Lord (xvi. 9-20).

Note on the Concluding Section.—The origin of xvi. 9-20 is one of the most difficult of questions, (a) The section is not found in the two famous Greek MSS., the Vatican and the Sinaitic, nor is it found in the very ancient Sinaitic Syriac MS. It is also lacking in one Latin MS. (k), which represents the Latin version used before St. Jerome made the Vulgate translation, about A.D. 384. The great scholar Eusebius, A.D. 320, omitted it from his "canons," which contain parallel passages from the three Gospels. (b) The language does not resemble the Greek employed in other parts of the Gospels, differing from it in some small particulars which most strongly suggest diversity of authorship. (c) Much of the section might have been constructed out of the other Gospels and Acts; e.g. ver. 9 is thought to be derived from John xx. 14, and ver. 14 from John xx. 26-29. (d) Mary Magdalene is introduced as though she had not been mentioned previously; but she has already appeared thrice in Mark (xv. 40, 47; xvi. 1). On the other hand, it is obvious that the Gospel could never have ended with the words "for they {63} were afraid," in ver. 8. All the old Latin MSS. contain the present section except k, and perhaps originally A. The evidence of the Vatican and the Sinaitic MSS. is not so strong as it appears to be at first sight. The end of Mark in the Sinaitic was actually written by the same scribe as the man who wrote the New Testament in the Vatican MS. And the way in which he has arranged the conclusion of the Gospel in both MSS. suggests that the MSS. from which the Sinaitic and the Vatican were copied, both contained this or a similar section. Moreover, there is considerable reason for thinking that he acted under the personal influence of Eusebius. The verses are attested by Irenaeus, and apparently by Justin and Hermas, and were therefore regarded as authentic, or at least as truthful, by educated men at Lyons and Rome, in the 2nd century. A possible solution is offered by an Armenian MS. (A.D. 986), which assigns the section to the "presbyter Ariston." This is probably the presbyter Aristion whom Papias describes as a disciple of the Lord (Eusebius, H. E. iii. 39). The conclusion of St. Mark's MS. probably became accidentally detached, and vanished soon after his death, and the Church may well have requested one who knew the Lord to supply the deficiency.

[1] Eusebius, H. E. iii. 39.

[2] Op. cit. iii. 39.

[3] Eusebius, H. E. vi. 14.

[4] Also in Matt. xxvii. 46. Observe also the explanation of Beelzebub (iii. 22), Gehenna (ix. 43), Bartimaeus (x. 46), Golgotha (xv. 22). Also the explanation of Jewish customs in vii. 3, 4; xiv. 12.




[Sidenote: The Author.]

The evidence for believing that the third Gospel was written by St. Luke, the friend of St. Paul, is very strong. In the 2nd century both this Gospel and Acts were attributed to him. St. Irenaeus, about A.D. 185, writes: "Luke, also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the gospel preached by him." [1] A few years earlier the author of the Muratorian Fragment wrote the words, "The third book of the Gospel, that according to Luke."

According to Eusebius and Jerome and an unknown writer of the 3rd century, St. Luke was a native of Antioch in Syria. Of this we seem to have confirmation in the full account given in Acts of the Church at Antioch. It is shown by Col. iv. 14 that he was a Gentile, as there is a distinction drawn between him and those "of the circumcision." From the same passage we learn that he was a physician. Traces of his profession have been discovered in the frequency with which he describes the healing wrought by Christ and His apostles (iv. 18, 23; ix. 1, 2, 6; x. 9; xxii. 51), and the occasional use of terms which a physician was more likely to employ than other people (iv. 38; v. 12; vi. 19; xxii. 44). It is very possible that it is St. Luke who is described (2 Cor. viii. 18) as "the brother whose praise in the gospel is spread through all the Churches." This tradition can be traced as far back as Origen. The fact that he was a dear friend of St. Paul is {65} shown by the epithet "beloved" in Col. iv. 14; by the fact that he is one of the "fellow-workers" who send greetings from Rome when St. Paul, who was imprisoned there, wrote to Philemon; and by the touching statement in 2 Tim. iv. 11, where St. Paul, as he awaits his death, writes, "Only Luke is with me."

St. Luke's relations with St. Paul are further illustrated from Acts. The literary resemblances between this Gospel and Acts are so numerous and so subtle that the tradition which ascribes both books to one author cannot reasonably be controverted. The passages in Acts which contain the word "we" show that the writer of Acts accompanied St. Paul from Troas to Philippi in A.D. 50, when the apostle made his first missionary journey in Europe (Acts xvi. 10-17). The apostle left him at Philippi. About six years afterwards St. Paul was again at Philippi, and there met St. Luke, who travelled with him to Jerusalem (Acts xx. 5-xxi. 18); he also was with the apostle when he made the voyage to Rome, and was shipwrecked with him at Malta. A writer of the 3rd century (quoted in Wordsworth's Vulgate, p. 269) tells us that St. Luke had neither wife nor children, and died in Bithynia at the age of seventy-four. A writer of the 6th century asserts that St. Luke was a painter, and attributes to him a certain picture of the Blessed Virgin. Another such picture is preserved in the great church of S. Maria Maggiore at Rome. The legend finds no support in early Christian writers. At the same time, it bears witness to the fact that this Gospel contains the elements of beauty in especial richness. It is the work of St. Luke that inspired Fra Angelico's pictures of the Annunciation, and the English hymn "Abide with me."

Although St. Irenaeus is the first writer who names St. Luke as the author of the third Gospel, the Gospel is quoted by earlier writers. Special mention must be made of (1) Justin Martyr. He records several facts only found in this Gospel, e.g. Elisabeth as the mother of John the Baptist, the census {66} under Quirinius, and the cry, "Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit." (2) Celsus, the pagan philosopher, who opposed Christianity. He refers to the genealogy which narrates that Jesus was descended from the first man. (3) The Letter of the Churches of Lyons and Vienne, written in A.D. 177. (4) Marcion. He endeavoured to found a system of theology which he pretended to be in accordance with the teaching of St. Paul. He rejected the Old Testament as the work of an evil god, and asserted that St. Paul was the only apostle who was free from the taint of Judaism. The only Gospel which he kept was that according to St. Luke, which he retained as agreeing with the teaching of St. Paul. The contents of Marcion's Gospel can be largely discovered in Tertullian. The differences which existed between Marcion's Gospel and our Luke can be easily accounted for. Here, as in St. Paul's Epistles, he simply altered the passages which did not agree with his own interpretation of St. Paul's doctrine. For instance, in Luke xiii. 28, instead of "Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob," he put "the righteous." The account of our Lord's birth and infancy he omitted, because he did not believe that our Lord's human body was thoroughly human and real. An interesting modern parallel to Marcion's New Testament can be found in England. At the beginning of the 19th century the English Unitarians circulated large numbers of an English version of the New Testament in which were altered all the passages in the English Authorised Version which imply that Jesus is God. The translators of this Unitarian version accepted the Gospels of the New Testament as genuine, although they used unscrupulous methods to support their assertion that the New Testament is Unitarian. In the same way Marcion, although he made unscrupulous alterations in Luke in order to prove that it was really Marcionite, obviously accepted it as a genuine work of the apostolic age.

The Preface of the Gospel begins with a ceremonious dedication to a person of high rank, named Theophilus. He is {67} called by the title "most excellent," which ordinarily implies that the person so designated is a member of the "equestrian order." The evangelist tells Theophilus that many had taken in hand to draw up a narrative of those things which are "most surely believed among us." The preface shows us that many attempts to give an account in order of what our Lord did and said had already been made. The literary activity of the earliest Christians is thus demonstrated to us. The preface suggests to us that substantial accuracy marked these early efforts, and, in a still higher degree, St. Luke's own Gospel. He does not speak of the earlier works as inaccurate, and he does distinctly give his reader to understand that he possesses peculiar qualifications for his task. He asserts that his information is derived from "eye-witnesses and ministers of the Word," and that he has himself "traced the course of all things accurately from the first." This preface certainly shows us that the writer took real pains in writing, and that he had personally known men who accompanied our Lord.

The date can hardly be later than A.D. 80, unless the evangelist wrote in extreme old age. And the date must be earlier than Acts, as the Gospel is referred to in that work (Acts i. 1, 2). Can we fix the date more accurately than this? Many critics think that we can. They say that it must be later than the fall of Jerusalem, A.D. 70. It is said that the Gospel presupposes that Jerusalem was already destroyed. The arguments for this are: (1) In Luke xxi. 20-24 the utter destruction of Jerusalem is foretold with peculiar clearness. We have already seen that a similar argument is employed by many in speaking of Matt., an argument which seems to imply that our Lord did not foretell that destruction because He could not. This argument must be dismissed. (2) In Luke xxi. 20 there is no editorial note like that in Matt. xxiv. 15, to emphasize the necessity of paying peculiar attention to our Lord's warning about the coming destruction, and in Luke xxi. 25 the final judgment is not so {68} clearly connected with the fall of Jerusalem as in Matt. xxiv. 29, where it is foretold as coming "immediately, after the tribulation of those days." Moreover, xxi. 24 suggests that the writer was well aware that an interval must elapse between the two great events. This is the only good argument for placing Luke later than Matt., and it certainly deserves careful attention. At the same time, we must observe the following facts: (a) St. Luke probably did not know St. Matthew's Gospel, otherwise he would not have given such very different, though not contradictory, accounts of the infancy and the resurrection of our Lord; (b) St. Luke may perhaps owe the superior accuracy of his report of the eschatological discourse of Christ to persons whom he knew at Jerusalem in A.D. 56; (c) St. Luke himself possibly thought that the end of the world would follow soon after the destruction of Jerusalem, for in xxi. 32 he seems to connect the final judgment with his own generation. But the statement is not so strong as in Matt. and Mark. For St. Luke says, "This generation shall not pass away till all be accomplished," while Matt. and Mark say, "until all these things be accomplished," evidently including the final judgment.

On the whole, it seems reasonable to date the Gospel according to St. Luke soon after A.D. 70, but it contains so many primitive touches that it may be rather earlier. It has been urged that both the Gospel and Acts betray a knowledge of the Antiquities of Josephus, and must therefore be later than A.D. 94. This theory remains wholly unproved, and the small evidence which can be brought to support it is far outweighed by the early features which mark St. Luke's books.

[Sidenote: Literary Style.]

The style is marked by great delicacy and power. It is in better Greek than the other Synoptic Gospels, and the evangelist seems to deliberately avoid some of the racy, popular words which are employed by St. Mark. But the beginner should be warned that this Gospel is not very easy to translate, for it contains a good {69} many words with which he is not likely to be familiar. The language of St. Luke contains many proofs that he is writing as a Gentile for Gentiles. Thus he calls the Apostle Simon, who belonged to the fanatically devout party known as the "Cananaeans," by the corresponding Greek name "Zealot" (vi. 15); he seldom uses the Hebrew word "Amen," and he never uses the word "Rabbi" as a form of address. He adds the word "unclean" before the word "devil" (iv. 33), as the Greeks believed that some devils were good and kind, while the Jews believed all devils to be evil. He also substitutes the word "lawyer" for "scribe." But while the preface is written in what is perhaps the best Greek in the New Testament, the evangelist allows his language to be penetrated by his visions of Jewish scenes. Partly from his study of the Old Testament, partly from his knowledge of the books and the lives in which he found a testimony to Jesus, he acquired the art of breathing into his Greek the simple manner and the sweet tone of a Hebrew story. There is nothing in all literature more perfectly told than the story of the walk to Emmaus. Nothing can be better than the delineation of character which is suggested to us in the story of Zacharias, or of Anna, or of Zacchaeus. There is always a freshness to remind us that the Gospel is "good tidings of great joy" (ii. 10), and the Magnificat (i. 46-55), the Benedictus (i. 68-79), the Gloria in Excelsis (ii. 14), and the Nunc Dimittis (ii. 29-32), have become for ever part of the praises of the Christian Church. More often than in any other Gospel we find such expressions as "glorifying God," "praising God," "blessing God." Again, St. Luke, in choosing incidents from the life of home, and more especially in choosing incidents in which women are prominent, gives a new solemnity to a life which men had hitherto despised. We always think of the Blessed Virgin as "highly favoured," of Martha "cumbered about much serving" (x. 40), of the widow with the two mites, of the daughters of Jerusalem weeping on the way of the cross (xxiii. 28), of the double joy of Elisabeth {70} to bear a son in her old age and to be visited by the mother of her Lord (i. 43); and we think all this because St. Luke has told us their story. These passages with their smiles and tears, their simplicity and their depth, are a divine contrast to the grotesque passage in the Jewish liturgy, where the men thank God that they are not women.

The last point in St. Luke's literary style is his use of phrases which resemble phrases in St. Paul's Epistles. He writes as a man who has lived in familiar intercourse with St. Paul. There is a striking similarity between the words attributed to our Lord in the institution of the Eucharist (xxii. 19, 20) and those in 1 Cor. xi. 24, 25, a similarity which is probably to be accounted for by the fact that St. Luke must often have heard the apostle use these words in celebrating this Sacrament. Besides this, there are phrases which are parallel with phrases in every Epistle of St. Paul. A few instances are—Luke vi. 36 (2 Cor. i. 3); Luke vi. 39 (Rom. ii. 19); Luke viii. 13 (1 Thess. i. 6); Luke x. 20 (Phil. iv. 3); Luke xii. 35 (Eph. vi. 14); Luke xxi. 24 (Rom. xi. 25); Luke xxii. 53 (Col. i. 13).

[Sidenote: Character and Contents.]

It has been well said that St. Matthew's Gospel is in a peculiar sense Messianic, St. Mark's is in a peculiar sense realistic, and St. Luke's is in a peculiar sense Catholic. And while St. Matthew takes pains to connect Christianity with the religion of the past, and St. Mark allows his interest in the past and the future to be overshadowed by his resolve to speak of Jesus as actually working marvels, St. Luke seems, like St. Paul, to be essentially progressive and to have a wider horizon than his predecessors. He does not manifest the least antipathy towards Judaism. He has none of that intolerance which so often marks the men who advertise their own breadth of view. He represents our Lord as fulfilling the Law, as quoting the Old Testament, and declaring that "it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the Law to fail" (xvi. 17). But he writes as a representative Gentile {71} convert. He takes pleasure in recording all that can attract to Christ that Gentile world which was beginning to learn of the new religion. We may note the following points which illustrate this fact: (1) Luke traces the genealogy of our Lord, not like Matt. by the legal line to Abraham, the father of the Jews, but by the natural line to Adam, the father of humanity (iii. 38), thus showing Jesus to be the elder Brother and the Redeemer of every human being. (2) While the true Godhead of our Lord is taught throughout, His true manhood is brought into prominence with peculiar pathos. We note His condescension in passing through the various stages of a child's life (ii. 4-7, 21, 22, 40, 42, 51, 52), the continuance of His temptations during His ministry (xxii. 28), His constant recourse to prayer in the great crises of His life, His deep sobbing over Jerusalem (xix. 41), His sweat like drops of blood during His agony in Gethsemane (xxii. 44), a fact recorded by none of the other evangelists. St. Luke seems to be filled with a sense of the divine compassion of Jesus, and thus he relates the facts which prove the reality of the grace, the undeserved lovingkindness, of God to man. Rightly did the poet Dante call him "the scribe of the gentleness of Christ." (3) Corresponding with this human character of the incarnate Son of God, we find the offer of universal salvation. St. Luke alone—for the words are wrongly inserted in Matt.—records the tender words of Jesus, "The Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost" (xix. 10). St. Paul knew no distinction between Jew and Greek, rich and poor, but taught that to be justified by God is a privilege which can be claimed not by birth but by faith; and what St. Paul enforces by stern arguments which convince our minds, St. Luke instils by the sweet parables and stories which convince our hearts. It is here that we find kindness shown to the Gentile (iv. 25-27; xiii. 28, 29), and the Samaritan (ix. 51-56; xvii. 11-19); here we are told of the publican who was "justified" rather than the Pharisee (xviii. 9), the story of the penitent {72} thief who had no time to produce the good works which his faith would have prompted (xxiii. 43), of the good Samaritan who, schismatic though he was, showed the spirit of a child of God (x. 30). Last, and best, there is the parable of the Prodigal Son (xv. 11), and the story of the woman who was a sinner (vii. 37). To her Christ says, "Thy faith hath saved thee," and to His host He says, "Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much"—words which no one but the Son of God could dare to say of any "woman who was in the city, a sinner." In recording these words, St. Luke proves that Jesus Christ Himself taught the Pauline doctrine that man is saved by faith; and yet not by an empty faith, but by "faith working through love" (Gal. v. 6). In this Gospel Jesus is especially the Refuge of sinners, and the teaching of our Lord may be best described by the happy phrase which records His address in the synagogue of Nazareth: "words of grace."

It is important to notice that in no Gospel do we find such an especial sympathy shown for the poor. The poverty of the holy family (ii. 7, 8, 24); the beatitude on the poor[2] (vi. 20), with the corresponding woes pronounced upon the rich (vi. 24 ff.); the parable of Dives and Lazarus (xvi. 19), the invitation of the poor to the supper of the King (xiv. 21), show this sympathy. In consequence of this, St. Luke's Gospel has been said to show an Ebionite tendency. But the word is misleading. It is possible that some early Christians may have called themselves by the name Ebionim, a Hebrew word which designated the poor and oppressed servants of God. And it is known that in the 2nd century and afterwards there was a heretical semi-Christian Jewish sect of that name. But St. Luke's Gospel is utterly opposed to the main tenets of these heretics, which were a repudiation of Christ's real Divinity and an insistence upon the necessity of circumcision for all Christians.


Perhaps it is the gentleness of the evangelist, and his preference for all that is tender and gracious, which causes his account of the twelve apostles to differ considerably from that in Mark. Their slowness, their weakness of faith, their rivalries, are set in a subdued light. He does not tell us that Christ once called St. Peter "Satan," or that Peter cursed and swore when he denied Christ. He omits the rebuke administered to the disciples in the conversation concerning the leaven (Mark viii. 17), the ambitious request of the two sons of Zebedee, and the indignation of the disciples at Mary's costly gift of ointment (Matt xxvi. 8). When St. Mark speaks of the failure of the disciples to keep awake while their Master was in Gethsemane, he says that they were asleep, "for their eyes were heavy" (xiv. 40). When St. Luke speaks of it, he says that they were "sleeping for sorrow" (xxii. 45). Doubtless both accounts are true, and we can reverently wonder both at the rugged honesty with which St. Peter must have told St. Mark about the faults of himself and his friends, and at the consideration shown by St. Luke towards the twelve in spite of the fact that he was more closely connected with St. Paul than with them.

About one-third of this Gospel is peculiar to itself, consisting mainly of the large section, ix. 51-xviii. 14. St. Luke here seems to have used an Aramaic document; the beginning of the section is full of Aramaic idioms. In places where St. Luke records the same facts as the other Synoptists, he sometimes adds slight but significant touches. The withered hand restored on the sabbath is the right hand (vi. 6); the centurion's servant is one dear to him (vii. 2); and the daughter of Jairus an only daughter (viii. 42; cf. the son of the widow at Nain, an only son, vii. 12). Among the remarkable omissions in this Gospel we may notice two sayings which are found in Matt. and Mark, and which seem to us to have been peculiarly appropriate for St. Luke's general purpose. The first is the saying of Christ that He had come "not to be ministered unto, {74} but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many" (Matt. xx. 28; Mark x. 45). The second is the statement that the Gospel "shall be preached in the whole world" (Matt. xxvi. 13; Mark xiv. 9). With the omission of these sayings we may compare the omission of any record of the visit of the Gentile wise men to the cradle of the infant Saviour of the world—an incident which would probably have appealed most strongly to the heart of St. Luke, if he had known it. Its absence from this Gospel is one of the many proofs that St. Luke was not familiar with the Gospel according to St. Matthew.

We have already noticed that much of the freshness of this Gospel is due to its being in a peculiar sense the Gospel of praise and thanksgiving. It is also peculiarly the Gospel of prayer. All the three Synoptists record that Christ prayed in Gethsemane. But on seven occasions St. Luke is alone in recording prayers which Jesus offered at the crises of His life: at His baptism (iii. 21); before His first conflict with the Pharisees and scribes (v. 16); before choosing the Twelve (vi. 12); before the first prediction of His Passion (ix. 18); at the Transfiguration (ix. 29); before teaching the Lord's Prayer (xi. 1); and on the Cross (xxiii. 34, 46). St. Luke mentions His insistence on the duty of prayer in two parables which no other evangelist has recorded (xi. 5-13; xviii. 1-8). He alone relates the declaration of Jesus that He had made supplication for Peter, and His charge to the Twelve, "Pray that ye enter not into temptation" (xxii. 32, 40).

As the Gospel according to St. Luke is more rich in parables than any other Gospel, we may conclude by giving a few words of explanation concerning our Lord's parables. The word "parable" means a "comparison," or, more strictly, "a placing of one thing beside another with a view to comparing them." In the Gospels the word is generally applied to a particular form of teaching. That is to say, it means a story about earthly things told in such a manner as to teach a {75} spiritual truth. The Jews were familiar with parables. There are some in the Old Testament, the Book of Isaiah containing two (v. 1-6; xxviii. 24-28). The rabbinical writings of the Jews are full of them. But the Jewish parable was only an illustration of a truth which had already been made known. The parables of our Lord are often means of conveying truths which were not known. They must be distinguished from (a) fables, (b) allegories, (c) myths. A fable teaches worldly wisdom and prudence, not spiritual wisdom, and it is put into somewhat childish forms in which foxes and birds converse together. An allegory puts the story and its interpretation side by side, and each part of the story usually has some special significance. A myth takes the form of history, but it relates things which happened before the dawn of history, as they appear to the child-mind of primitive men.

The parables of our Lord were intended to teach the secrets of the kingdom of God (see p. 44). They unfold these secrets and at the same time veil them in the illustrations which are employed. These illustrations attract the attention and inquiry of those who are spiritually receptive. On the other hand, those who are unworthy or hardened do not recognize the truth. Nevertheless, the parables were such miracles of simplicity and power, were so easy to remember, and so closely connected with everyday objects, that even the dullest man would awake to the truth if he retained a spark of life. It is difficult to divide the parables into separate groups. But they may perhaps be divided into two groups. The first group is drawn from man's relations with the world of nature and from his simpler experiences, and the second is drawn from man's relations with his fellow-men, relations which involve more complicated experiences. The parables of the second group were sometimes spoken in answer to questions addressed to our Lord in private; such is the parable of the good Samaritan, and that of the rich fool. If we desire to study the parables in special relation to the kingdom of God, {76} we can divide them into three groups. The first consists of those collected in Matt. xiii., delivered in and near Capernaum, and referring to the kingdom of God as a whole. The second consists of those collected in Luke x.-xviii., delivered on Christ's journeys from Galilee to Jerusalem, and referring to the character of the individual members of the kingdom. The third consists of parables spoken during our Lord's last days at Jerusalem, and referring to the judgment of members of the kingdom.

It is difficult to decide whether some of the shorter parables ought to be regarded as parables or not, but the number is usually estimated at about thirty, of which eighteen are peculiar to Luke. In John there are no parables, strictly so called, and St. John never uses the word "parable." But he uses the word paroimia, or "proverb," and records several proverbial sayings of our Lord which are rather like parables (John iv. 34; x. i-3; xii. 24; xv. 1-6; xvi. 21).


The infancy of our Lord: i. 1-ii. 52.—Similarity and contrast between the predictions of the birth of John the Baptist and Jesus, and also between their birth. The circumcision, the visit of Jesus to the temple in boyhood.


Winter A.D. 26 till after Pentecost 27.

The preparation for the ministry: iii. 1-iv. 13.—The ministry of John the Baptist and the baptism of Jesus, the genealogy from Adam, the threefold temptation.


Pentecost A.D. 27 till before Passover 28.

Missionary work of Jesus in Galilee: iv. 14-ix. 6.—Jesus preaches, is rejected at Nazareth, goes to Capernaum, various miracles (iv.). Call of Simon, leper cleansed, five {77} grounds of offence against Jesus (v.-vi. 11). Appointment of the twelve, the sermon (vi.). The centurion's servant, the widow's son, Christ's description of John and of the age, the penitent (vii.). Parables, Christ's relation to His mother and brethren, various miracles (viii.). The mission of the twelve (ix. 1-6).

[Perplexity of Herod, ix. 7-9.]


Passover A.D. 28 till before Tabernacles 28.

Climax of missionary work in Galilee: ix. 10-50.—Christ feeds the multitude, Peter's confession, Christ's first prediction of His death, transfiguration, lunatic boy cured, second prediction of death, two rebukes to apostles.


Tabernacles, September A.D. 28 until early 29.

Later ministry, chiefly in Peraea: ix. 51-xix. 28.—Jesus rejected by Samaritans, discouragements (ix.). Mission of the seventy, lament over cities of Galilee, the good Samaritan, Mary and Martha (x.). Prayer and the Lord's Prayer, Jesus accused of alliance with Beelzebub, His saying about His mother, denunciation of a generation which will not believe without signs, and of the Pharisees and lawyers (xi.). The leaven of the Pharisees, confidence in God, warnings against covetousness, anxiety and lack of watchfulness, Christ's coming "baptism," signs of the times (xii.). The meaning of calamities, parable of the fig tree, cure on the sabbath, the mustard seed and the leaven, Gentiles to replace Jews, the Pharisees try to persuade Jesus to leave the dominions of Herod, Christ's first lament over Jerusalem (xiii.).

Lawfulness of healing on the sabbath, humility, inviting the poor, the King's supper, counting the cost (xiv.). Parables to {78} illustrate Christ's care for the lost (xv.). The use and abuse of money (xvi.). Occasions of stumbling, the increase of faith, the truth that we cannot purchase God's favour by doing more than He commands, the ten lepers, the coming of the Son of man (xvii.). Answer to prayer, the Pharisee and publican, little children, the rich young man, Christ's third prediction of His death, the blind beggar at Jericho (xviii.). Zacchaeus, the parable of the pounds (xix. 1-28).


Passover A.D. 29.

Last days at Jerusalem, and afterwards: xix. 29-xxiv. 53.—Entry into Jerusalem, Christ's second lament over Jerusalem, cleansing of the temple (xix. 29-xx.). Christ challenged, parable of the vineyard, two questions to entrap Christ, His question (xx.). The widow's mites, predictions of the destruction of the temple, siege of Jerusalem, the second coming (xxi.). Judas' bargain, the Passover, agony on the mount of Olives, the betrayal, Peter's denial, Jesus tried before the elders (xxii.). Jesus before Pilate, Herod, Pilate again, Simon of Cyrene, the daughters of Jerusalem, the crucifixion, burial by Joseph of Arimathaea (xxiii.).

The women at the sepulchre, and Peter, the walk to Emmaus, Jesus appears to the disciples and eats, His commission, the Ascension (xxiv.).

The Date of our Lord's Birth.—It is fairly well known that the dates of our Lord's Birth and of His Death are both, in all probability, misrepresented in popular chronology. The best ancient chronology fixes the date of the Crucifixion in A.D. 29. The Birth was probably about six years before the commencement of our present era. Various reasons make this date probable, including the fact that there was at that time a conjunction of Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars, which must have presented a most brilliant appearance in the sky, and would {79} certainly have attracted the star-loving sages of the East. The great astronomer Kepler was of opinion that this conjunction was followed by the brief appearance of a new star, which is the star mentioned in Matt. ii. 2. This is of importance in considering the statements of St. Luke. Several objections have been made to his account of the census held under Quirinius. (1) It is said that Quirinius was not governor of Syria when Jesus was born; his administration was from A.D. 6 to A.D. 9, and Quinctilius Varus was governor in A.D. 1. But St. Luke cannot be proved to say that Quirinius was governor; he describes his office by a participle which may mean "acting as leader," and there is proof that Quirinius was engaged in a military command in the time of Herod, and also proof that some high official twice governed Syria in the time of Augustus. St. Luke's expression might fit either of these two facts. (2) It is said that Herod was reigning as king in Palestine, and that his subjects would not be included in a Roman census. But in the year 8-7 B.C. Augustus wrote to Herod, saying that he would henceforth treat him as a subject. His dominions must henceforth have been treated like the rest of the dominions of Augustus. (3) It is said that no census took place at that time, and that if there had been a census, it would have been carried out by households, according to Roman custom, and not by families. But there seems to have been a census in Egypt and Syria in B.C. 8, and after Augustus determined to put Herod under his authority, the census would naturally be extended to Judaea. Herod would probably be allowed to carry out the census on his own lines, so long as it was really carried out. And he would plainly prefer to do it in the Jewish fashion, so as to irritate the Jews as little as might be.

The question is still involved in some obscurity, but St. Luke's accuracy has not been in the least disproved by the controversy. He is the only evangelist who connects his narrative with the history of Syria and of the Roman empire, and we have every reason to believe that he did his work with care as well as sympathy.

[1] Adv. Har. iii. 1.

[2] Matt. v. 3 has "poor in spirit." The same Aramaic word might be used for both "poor" and "poor in spirit."




[Sidenote: The Author.]

We learn from the Gospels that St. John was the son of Zebedee, a Galilean fisherman, and was a follower of the Baptist before he joined our Lord. The Synoptists show that he was one of the most prominent and intimate of our Lord's followers. With St. Peter and St. James he was permitted to witness the raising of Jairus' daughter, and to be present at the Transfiguration, and with them was nearest to Christ at the agony in Gethsemane. With St. Peter he was sent to prepare the last Passover. Like his brother St. James, he shared in the fervour of his mother, Salome, who begged for them a special place of dignity in the kingdom of Christ. They both wished to call down fire on a Samaritan village, and St. John asked Jesus what was to be done with the man whom they found casting out devils in His name. Their fiery temperament caused our Lord to give them the surname of Boanerges ("sons of thunder"). In the fourth Gospel the name of John the son of Zebedee is never mentioned, but there are several references to an apostle whose name is not recorded, but can be intended for no other than St. John. At the crucifixion this apostle was bidden by our Lord to regard Mary as henceforth his mother, and the writer claims to have been an eye-witness of the crucifixion. In the last chapter very similar words are used to assert that the writer is he whom Jesus loved.

In Acts St. John appears with St. Peter as healing the lame {81} man at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, and with St. Peter he goes to Samaria to bestow the Holy Ghost on those whom Philip had baptized. He was revered as one of the pillars of the Church when St. Paul visited Jerusalem in A.D. 49 (Gal. ii. 9). It is remarkable that the Synoptic Gospels, the fourth Gospel, Acts, and Galatians, all show St. John in close connection with St. Peter. St. John's name occurs in the Revelation, which has been attributed to him since the beginning of the 2nd century.

Numerous fragments of tradition concerning St. John are preserved by early Christian writers. Tertullian, about A.D. 200, says that St. John came to Rome, and was miraculously preserved from death when an attempt was made to kill him in a cauldron of boiling oil. Tertullian and Eusebius both say that he was banished to an island, and Eusebius tells us that the island was Patmos, and that the banishment took place in the time of Domitian. On the accession of Nerva, St. John removed from Patmos to Ephesus, where he survived until the time of Trajan, who became emperor in A.D. 98. Polycrates, Bishop of Ephesus, writing about A.D. 190, speaks of St. John's tomb in that city, and says that he wore the petalon, the high priest's mitre used in the Jewish Church. We are told by other writers how he reclaimed a robber, how he played with a tame partridge, how when too old to preach he was carried into church and would repeat again and again, "Little children, love one another." On one occasion a spark of his youthful fire was seen. It was when the old man indignantly refused to stay under the roof of the same public baths as Cerinthus, the heretic who denied that Mary was a virgin when she bore our Lord, and asserted that the Divinity of Jesus was only a power which came upon Him and went from Him.

The residence of St. John at Ephesus is attested by the Revelation. Even if that book were a forgery, no forger at the close of the 1st century would have ventured to place the hero of his book in a neighbourhood where he had not lived. {82} Many threads of evidence lead us back to the statement made by Polycrates about the apostle's tomb. It was not until long after that date that the Christians began to carry the relics of saints from place to place, and churches rivalled one another in producing shrines for the severed members of one body. There is therefore no reason whatever to doubt that the tomb at Ephesus marked the resting-place of the apostle. It was known two hundred years later in the time of Jerome, and visited in 431 by the members of the great Church Council which met at Ephesus. The Emperor Justinian built a sumptuous church on the site, and near a modern Turkish mosque may still be seen the remnants of the church of St. John.

Until the end of the 18th century the authorship of this Gospel was not seriously challenged. The only party which ever denied that it was written by the Apostle St. John was an ignorant and insignificant body of people mentioned by Irenaeus and Epiphanius. They were known as the Alogi, or "unbelievers in the Word." Their views in no wise undermine the tradition of the Catholic Church. For the Alogi asserted that this Gospel was written by Cerinthus, who lived at Ephesus where St. John lived, and was himself a contemporary of St. John. We have sufficient knowledge of the teaching of Cerinthus to be perfectly certain that he could not have written a Gospel which so completely contradicts his own theories. Therefore the opinion of the Alogi is absolutely worthless where it negatives the tradition of the Church, and on the other hand it agrees with that tradition in asserting that the book was written in the apostolic age.

During the last hundred years the men who deny that Jesus Christ was truly "God of God, Light of Light," have strained every nerve to prove that the fourth Gospel was not written by St. John. It is, of course, almost impossible that they should admit that the writer was an apostle and an honest man and continue to deny that the Christ whom he depicts claimed to be the Lord and Maker of all things. During the controversy {83} which has been waged during the last three generations with regard to St. John's Gospel, it has been evident throughout that the Gospel has been rejected for this very reason. The book has driven a wedge into the whole band of New Testament students. The critics who deny that Jesus was God, but are willing to grant that He was the most holy and the most divine of men, have been forced to side with those who are openly Atheists or Agnostics. The clue to their theories was unguardedly exposed by Weizsaecker, who said, with regard to St. John's Gospel, "It is impossible to imagine any power of faith and philosophy so great as thus to obliterate the recollection of the real life, and to substitute for it this marvellous picture of a Divine Being." [1] This remark shows us that the critic approached the Gospel with a prejudice against the doctrine of our Lord's Divinity, and rejected the Gospel mainly because it would not agree with his own prejudice. But the determination to fight to the uttermost against the converging lines of Christian evidence has now driven such critics into a corner. Many have already abandoned the position that the book is a semi-Gnostic forgery written in the middle of the 2nd century, and they are now endeavouring to maintain that it was written about A.D. 100 by a certain John the Presbyter, whom they assert to have been afterwards confounded with the Apostle John.

Of John the Presbyter very little indeed is known. Papias, about A.D. 130, says that he was, like Aristion, "a disciple" of the Lord, and that he had himself made oral inquiries as to his teaching. He seems to have been an elder contemporary of Papias. Dionysius of Alexandria, about A.D. 250, mentions that there were two monuments in Ephesus bearing the name of John, and we may reasonably suppose that one of these was in memory of the presbyter mentioned by Papias. But a little reflection will soon convince us that nothing has been gained by the conjecture that this John wrote the Gospel. If John {84} the Presbyter was personally acquainted with our Lord, as some writers understand Papias to mean, then the sceptics are forced to admit that one who personally knew Jesus, describes Jesus as a more than human Being—as, in fact, the Divine Creator. This is the precise fact which keeps these writers from admitting that an apostle wrote the Gospel. If, on the other hand, they suppose, as some do, that John the Presbyter was very much younger than the apostles, the sceptics are confronted with the following difficulties:—

(a) There is the important external evidence which shows how widely the Gospel was regarded in the early Church as the work of St. John.

(b) There is the minute knowledge displayed of the topography, customs, and opinions of Jerusalem and the Holy Land as they existed in the time of Christ.

(c) There is the impossibility of supposing that Irenaeus, who was probably not born a year later than A.D. 130, would not have known that the Gospel was written by John the Presbyter.

(d) There is the fact that the evidence for St. John having lived in Ephesus is better than the evidence for a renowned presbyter of the same name having lived in Ephesus. This has been wisely pointed out by Juelicher, even though he himself denies that the apostle wrote St. John's Gospel. And the justice of this argument proves that it is sheer paradox to maintain, as some now maintain, that the only John who lived in Ephesus was the Presbyter.

It is constantly urged by the opponents of the authenticity of this Gospel that, as it was published at Ephesus at a late period, it cannot be the work of the apostle, because he never went to Ephesus, and "died early as a martyr." [2] This is a most unscrupulous use of an inexact quotation made by some later Greek writers from a lost book of Papias. It can be {85} traced to Philip of Side (5th century), and it is to the effect that "John the Divine and James his brother were killed by the Jews." Papias does not say that they died together, and his statement is compatible with the belief that St. John survived his brother very many years. We know from Gal. ii. 9 that he was alive some time after his brother's death, which was about A.D. 44. And George Hamartolus, one of the Greek writers who quote the above passage in Papias, expressly says that the Emperor Nerva (A.D. 96) recalled John from Patmos, and "dismissed him to live in Ephesus."

[Sidenote: The External Evidence.]

The external evidence for the authenticity of this Gospel is in some respects stronger than that which is to be found in the case of the other Gospels. Thus the Christian may recognize with gratitude that his Divine Master has especially added the witness of the Church to the work of His beloved disciple. All through the 2nd century we have the links of a chain of evidence, and after A.D. 200 the canon of the Gospels is known to have been so fixed that no defender of the faith is called upon to show what that canon was. The earliest traces of the phraseology of St. John are to be discovered in the Didache, which was probably written in Eastern Palestine or Syria about A.D. 100. The prayers which are provided in this book for use at the Eucharist are plainly of a Johannine type, and are probably derived from oral teaching given by the apostle himself before he lived at Ephesus. In any case, the Didache seems sufficient to disprove the sceptical assertion that theological language of a Johannine character was unknown in the Christian Church about A.D. 100. The letters attributed to St. Ignatius, the martyr bishop of Antioch, are now universally admitted to be genuine by competent scholars. They may most reasonably be dated about A.D. 110, and they are deeply imbued with thought of a Johannine type. It has been lately suggested that this tendency of thought does not prove an actual acquaintance with the Gospel of St. John. But when we find Christ {86} called "the Word," and the devil called "the prince of this world," and read such a phrase as "the bread of God which is the flesh of Christ," it is almost impossible to deny that the letters of Ignatius contain actual reminiscences of St. John's language. Nor is there the least reason why Ignatius should not have been acquainted with this Gospel. His younger contemporary St. Polycarp, whose letter to the Philippians was also written about A.D. 110, quotes from the First Epistle of St. John. And Papias, who probably wrote about A.D. 130, and collected his materials many years earlier, also quoted that Epistle, as we learn from Eusebius. Now, the connection between the Gospel and the Epistle is, as has been cleverly remarked, like the connection between a star and its satellite. They are obviously the work of the same author. If Polycarp, who had himself seen St. John, knew that the Epistle was genuine, he must have known that the Gospel was genuine.

The evidence which can definitely be dated between A.D. 120 and A.D. 170 is of extreme interest. It proves conclusively that a belief in the authenticity of this Gospel was so firmly engrained in the Christian mind that men holding the most opposite opinions appealed to its authority. It is true that the "irrational" Alogi rejected it, and that Marcion repudiated it, not because it was not by an apostle, but because St. Paul was the only apostle whom he admired. But it was used by the Catholics, the Gnostics, and the Montanists. St. Justin Martyr was acquainted with it, and before he wrote, Basilides, the great Gnostic of Alexandria, borrowed from it some materials for his doctrine. The equally celebrated Gnostic Valentinus used it, and his followers also revered it. About A.D. 170 Heracleon, an eminent Valentinian, wrote a commentary upon this Gospel, of which commentary some fragments still remain. The Montanists arose in Phrygia about A.D. 157. Montanus, their founder, endeavoured to revive the power of prophecy, and his followers maintained that "the Paraclete said more things in Montanus than Christ {87} uttered in the Gospel." It can easily be proved that their teaching was an attempt to realize some of the promises of our Lord contained in St. John's Gospel. And the fact that the Montanists were strongly opposed to the Gnostics makes it all the more remarkable that both sects regarded this Gospel as so important. Somewhat before A.D. 170 St. John's Gospel was inserted by the great Syrian apologist, Tatian, in his Diatessaron, or harmony of the Gospels, and the apocryphal Acts of John composed near the same date contain unmistakable allusions to this Gospel.

The evidence of Irenaeus is the culminating proof of the genuineness of the Gospel according to St. John. He became Bishop of Lyons in A.D. 177, and remembered Polycarp, who suffered martyrdom at Smyrna in A.D. 156, at the age of eighty-six. Irenaeus, in writing to his friend Florinus, says, "I can describe the very place in which the blessed Polycarp used to sit when he discoursed, and his goings-out and his comings-in, and his manner of life, and his personal appearance, and the discourses which he held before the people, and how he would describe his intercourse with John and the rest who had seen the Lord, and how he would relate their words. And whatsoever things he had heard from them about the Lord and about His miracles, Polycarp, as having received them from eye-witnesses of the life of the Word, would relate, altogether in accordance with the Scriptures." [3]

Now, it is perfectly certain that Irenaeus, like his contemporaries Heracleon and Tatian, accepted the fourth Gospel as the work of the Apostle John. And can we believe that he would have thus accepted it, if it had not been acknowledged by his teacher Polycarp, who knew St. John, and was nearly thirty years old at the time of St. John's death?


[Sidenote: The Internal Evidence.]

The Gospel itself contains manifest tokens that it was written by a Jew of Palestine, by one who held no Gnostic heresy, and by a contemporary of our Lord.

I. The author was a Jew and not a Gentile.

He makes frequent quotations from the Old Testament, and some of these quotations imply an acquaintance with the Hebrew. This is especially the case in the verse from the 41st Psalm (xiii. 18), and in that (xix. 37) from Zech. xii. 10, "They shall look on Him whom they pierced." The Septuagint of Zech. xii. 10, translating from a different form of the Hebrew, has, instead of the words "whom they pierced," "because they mocked." It is, therefore, plain that John xiii. 18 is not derived from the Septuagint. The Gospel is also Hebraic in style. The sentences are broken up in a manner which is at variance with Greek idiom. Whereas in St. Luke's two writings the style becomes more Greek or more Hebraic in proportion to his writing independently or employing the writings of Jewish Christians, the style of this Gospel is the same throughout. We may particularly notice the Hebraic use of the word "and" to signify both "and" and "but" (e.g. in v. 39, 40, where "and ye will not come" means "but ye will not come"). We may also notice the correct use of certain Hebrew proper names: e.g. Judas is called "the son of Iscariot," showing that the writer did not regard the word Iscariot as the fixed name of Judas only, but knew that it might be applied to any man of Kerioth. In fact, the Greek of St. John is exactly like the English of a Scottish Highlander who has only spoken Gaelic in his earlier days, and, when he has acquired English, shows his origin by the continued use of a few Gaelic idioms and his knowledge of Highland proper names.

He shows a minute acquaintance with Jewish social and ceremonial customs. We may notice iii. 25; iv. 9, 27; vii. 2, 23, 37; x. 22; xi. 44; xix. 7, 31; and especially the waterpots (ii. 6), the purification previous to the Passover (xi. 55), the fear {89} of our Lord's accusers to defile themselves by entering the praetorium (xviii. 28), and the Jewish method of embalming (xix. 40). Jewish opinions are faithfully reflected, e.g. as to the importance attached to the religious schools (vii. 15); the disparagement of the Jews of the "dispersion" (vii. 35); the scorn felt by many Jews for the provincials of Galilee (i. 46; vii. 41, 52), and the idea of the soul's pre-existence (ix. 2).

II. The author was a Jew of Palestine.

He shows a minute acquaintance with the geography of the Holy Land. At the present day elaborate guide-books and histories make it possible for a very clever writer to disguise the fact that he has not visited the land in which he lays the scene of his story. But even at the present day such procedure is dangerous, and likely to be detected. In ancient times it was almost impossible. Yet no one has ever detected an error in the geography of this Gospel. The writer mentions Cana of Galilee (ii. 1, 11), a place not noticed by any earlier writer, and Bethany beyond Jordan (i. 28); he knows the exact distance from Jerusalem to the better-known Bethany (xi. 18); the "deep" well of Jacob at Sychar (iv. 11); the city of Ephraim near the wilderness (xi. 54); Aenon near to Salim, where John baptized (iii. 23). This word Aenon is an Aramaic word signifying "springs," and even Renan ridicules the notion of such a name having been invented by Greek-speaking sectaries at Ephesus. The place was too obscure to be known to ordinary travellers, and, on the other hand, such a name cannot have been invented by a Gentile.

The topography of Jerusalem is described with equal nicety. We may notice viii. 20; ix. 7; x. 23; xviii. 1, 15; xix. 17, 41; and particularly the pool near the sheep-gate, having five porches (v. 2), and the place which is called the Pavement, "but in the Hebrew Gabbatha" (xix. 13). Even a person who had heard of Solomon's porch and of Golgotha might well have been ignorant of the sheep-gate and the Pavement, unless he had been in Jerusalem.

Lastly, the writer shows an acquaintance not only with the {90} Jewish feasts, but also with facts connected with them which imply special knowledge on his part. He could not have gathered from the Old Testament the fact that the later Jews were in the habit of keeping a feast in honour of the dedication of the temple after its profanation by Antiochus Epiphanes (x. 22), nor would he have learned how to introduce an allusion to the rite of pouring forth water from the pool at Siloam at the Feast of Tabernacles (vii. 37).

The only important argument which can be urged against the author having been a Jew is that founded on the use of the phrase "the Jews," which is said to imply that the writer was not a Jew. Now, in some passages (as vii. 1), "the Jews" may mean the inhabitants of Judaea, as distinct from those of Galilee, and such passages are therefore indecisive. But in other passages the phrase "the Jews" does not admit this interpretation, and is used with a decided suggestion of dislike. But when we remember the bitter hostility which the Jews soon manifested towards the Christians, and remember that in Asia Minor this hostility was active, the phrase presents no real difficulty. St. Paul was proud to reckon himself a Jew, but long before the Jews had shown their full antagonism to Christianity, St. Paul spoke of "the Jews" (1 Thess. ii. 14-16) with the same condemnation as the writer of the fourth Gospel.

The only important arguments in favour of the author having absorbed Gnostic views are drawn: (1) From the alleged Dualism of the Gospel. In theology the word Dualism signifies the doctrine that the world is not only the battle-ground of two opposing forces, one good and the other evil, but also that the material world is itself essentially evil. Such was the doctrine of the great Gnostic sects of the 2nd century. But this Gospel, in spite of the strong contrast which it draws between God and the world, light and darkness, is not Dualist. It teaches that there is one God, that the world was made by the Word who is God, that this Word was made flesh and came to save the world. In thus teaching that the material world was made by the good God, and that God took a material human body, this Gospel opposes the fundamental tenet of Gnostic Dualism. (2) From the alleged condemnation of the Jewish prophets by Christ in x. 8. Other passages make it perfectly plain that this is not a condemnation of the Jewish prophets, but of any religious pretenders who claimed divine authority. In this Gospel an appeal is made to Moses (v. 46), to Abraham (viii. 56), to Isaiah {91} (xii. 41), and, what is most remarkable of all, our Lord says, "Salvation is of the Jews," i.e. the knowledge and the origin of religious truth came from the Jews. The Jewish Scriptures are ratified (v. 39; x. 35). It is impossible to find a shred of the anti-Jewish theories which the Gnostics taught. And though it is true that some Gnostics were fond of using such words as "life" and "light" in their religious phraseology, it is much more probable that they were influenced by the fourth Gospel than that this Gospel was tinged with Gnosticism.

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